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Diabet Med. 2017 Feb;34(2):272-277. doi: 10.1111/dme.13262. Epub 2016 Oct 13.

Use of antibiotics in childhood and risk of Type 1 diabetes: a population-based case-control study.

Author information

  • 1Center for Diabetes Research, Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Hellerup, Denmark.
  • 2Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • 3Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • 4Endocrine Research Unit, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
  • 5Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacy, Department of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.



To investigate whether the use of antibiotics from infancy to adolescence influences the risk of Type 1 diabetes.


We conducted a population-based case-control study, including all Type 1 diabetes cases in Denmark among children born between 1997 and 2012 (n = 1578). Odds ratios associating Type 1 diabetes with use of antibiotics were calculated using conditional logistic regression.


Overall, we found no association between the use of antibiotics and risk of Type 1 diabetes. Furthermore, no associations were seen specifically for broad-spectrum, narrow-spectrum, bactericidal or bacteriostatic types of antibiotics or for the most frequently used individual classes of antibiotics. No differences were observed in subgroups defined by sex or by age at time of diagnosis. However, filling five or more antibiotic prescriptions in the first 2 years of life specifically was associated with a higher odds ratio of 1.35 (95% CI 1.10-1.64). This association appeared to be driven by exposure to broad-spectrum antibiotics within the second year of life.


Antibiotic exposure in childhood is generally not associated with the risk of developing Type 1 diabetes. Future studies should investigate the effects of multiple exposures to broad-spectrum antibiotics during the second year of life.

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